It is up to you.
For years, the Telluride Medical Center has been searching for a permanent home. Only one site in the Town of Telluride has been identified by everyone concerned. Town officials, TMC Board Members and the recent Health and Wellness Task Force all agree that the asphalt paved RV lot (1.04 acres) at the end of Mahoney Drive is the last chance to keep TMC in Telluride.
On November 5, voters in Telluride will be given the chance to protect 86.7 percent of the Pearl Property as a conservation easement and use 13.3 percent (already an asphalt lot) for their medical center or another public purpose.
If Proposition 2D fails, TMC will have no choice but to relocate outside of the Town of Telluride. Most current or future members of the Telluride Town Council have expressed their support for using the RV Lot for our future medical center.
You may ask why TMC does not stay where it is? TMC cannot remain at the current location for many reasons.
First, the land under TMC’s building is owned by Idarado who has declined to discuss selling or renewing the lease - several times in the last year.
Second, Telluride town officials have stated they don’t want a protracted and expensive condemnation fight with Idarado in order to obtain the land for TMC.
Third, even if TMC or the Town could acquire the land, the mass and scale of the required building would cover the land from property line to property line, would not have enough parking and would require an expansion of at least one story – something the Planning & Zoning Commission has never approved.
Fourth, TMC needs a heliport adjacent to or on top of the medical center in order to reduce transport time (30 to 40 minutes) and save lives.
Surveys and interviews have indicated this community loves the medical care they get at TMC. That is wonderful because TMC is now the only option to residents and tourists for both emergency and primary medical care in the area. It is important for most patients that they be able to easily reach TMC by foot or shuttle and if needed, taking the Gondola from Mountain Village.
Should Proposition 2D fail, every patient will have to use rubber tire transportation to get medical care at Society Turn (most likely option after the RV lot). This outcome goes directly against our community efforts towards sustainability. It will necessitate thousands of additional trips on the spur and will mean more carbon emissions, more traffic, more inconvenience for residents and tourists and more wear and tear on the spur – which will cost Telluride taxpayers.
It is now up to the voters in Telluride to decide where they will get their local medical care. Proposition 2D is the last chance for keeping TMC in town.
If you run into someone who has a different idea of what to do with the RV Lot, ask them what is more valuable to Telluride residents than convenient access to emergency medical care?
I encourage you to vote YES on Proposition 2D and support the candidates for Town Council who have indicated they will support retaining the Medical Center in Telluride on the RV Lot.
It is up to you. And your voice will have long lasting and far reaching implications.
Garner is a member of the group Citizens for Keeping the Medical Center in Telluride.